Great Gable From Honister Slate Mine

Wastwater Prints

Great Gable sits at the Head of the Wasdale valley and dominates the scene viewed from Wastwater. The collection of 3 peaks here form the Lake District National Parks logo. Yewbarrow, Great Gable and Lingmell.


There are several options for ascending Great Gable. For my first attempt I choice the easiest route which starts from Honister Slate Mine. From the mine you can follow the dismantled tramway West. Fleetwith Pike is to the North, Grey Knotts to the South and Haystacks to the West. Before you reach the disused Dubs Quarry you take the path south (left) up to Brandreth that is the first summit you can bag on the way to Great Gable. The path from here offers great views down the remotest valley in the Lake District, Ennerdale. Ennerdale is a wonderful looking valley, with Pillar on the south side and Haystacks and the High Stile Ridge to the north.

Lake District Photography by James Bell

The Black Sail Youth Hostel is the only building at this end of the remote valley accessed via a gravel track from Ennerdale. There are also fine views to be had back over Haystacks and the High Stile Ridge. From here you can see the collection of small tarns on Haystacks ridge.

Lake District Landscape Photography

Moving on from Brandreth my next target was Green Gable a lesser but still significant summit at the head of the Ennerdale valley. At this point you get the best view of your next challenge. Great Gable. A slight descent into Windy Gap offers great views east down Aaron Slack over Styhead Tarn, Sprinkling Tarn, Great End and a highway of paths.

Styhead Tarn, The Lake District

To the west the view down into Ennerdale is still well worth pausing for.

Great Gable Landscape Photography

The final part of the ascent is the hardest of the entire walk, requiring hands and feet for a period of time, however, once on the summit the views take on a new perspective and offer a great vista down over Wasdale and onto the Scafell Range. The summit of Great Gable has some notable features. On the summit there’s a bronze war memorial tablet of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club, dedicated in 1924. On Remembrance Day each year a hardy group of walkers hold a service up here.

The famous Westmorland Cairn on the southern side of the summit is well worth a visit. The cairn was built in 1876 by two Brothers called ‘Westmorland’ they built the Cairn to mark what they thought was the finest mountain viewpoint in the area. You can see the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man in the distance to the right above Seatallen. And the unique dry stone walled fields of Wasdale below.

Wasdale from Great Gable, The Lake District

On leaving the Summit to the West descending to Beck head, you can pick up a path that takes you round below Gable Crag, Stone Cove and round under Green Gable Crag.

Ennerdale form Great Gable

The views down Ennerdale and over Looking Stead and Pillar are great from this point. You can just see Pillar rock from this point too. This path leads you back towards the junction at Fleetwith Pike and back to Honister.

Great Gable has more interesting features on the South Side such as Great Napes, Napes Needle and Sphinx Rock. You’re better off ascending from Wasdale if these features are on your itinerary.

Here you can see more of my Lake District Landscape Photography

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Great Gable From Honister Slate Mine

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